Undergraduate Program

Linguistics at WashU

At Washington University, Linguistics is a special interdepartmental program that primarily serves undergraduates. Students may major or minor in Linguistics, and many of our courses can be used to fulfill cluster requirements. The Courses page includes courses taught by other departments which increase understanding of linguistics and can, in most cases, also be applied toward a Linguistics major or minor.

The University also offers, in addition to Linguistics, several other courses of study for students interested in other approaches to language. These include but are probably not limited to Classics; East Asian Languages and Cultures; English; Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies; Germanic Languages and Literatures; and Romance Languages and Literatures. There are also several area studies programs that incorporate substantial study of modern languages. Check out International and Area Studies for examples. 

For other approaches, the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program offers a track in Language, Cognition, and Culture. The Psychological and Brain Sciences department has a supplemental concentration in Reading, Language, and Language Acquisition for its majors. Applied Linguistics is also offered as an undergraduate minor in Education. Scroll to the bottom of the page for links to their areas of study.


Linguistics courses are part of several clusters that can be used to fulfill general education requirements in the College of Arts & Sciences.

CL 1722 Language Acquisition

Language is one of the fundamental capacities of the human species, and one of the great projects of modern science has been the inquiry into how we acquire it. Introduction to Linguistics (Ling 170) provides students with an appreciation for the underlying systematicity of language, with tools for analyzing its structure and function, and with an awareness of its diversity—the foundation for understanding interdisciplinary ideas and research in many other fields. Second Language Acquisition (Ling 466) considers the theoretical and practical issues raised by acquiring multiple languages under a variety of circumstances at ages ranging from infancy to adulthood.

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CL 3721 Mind and Language

Language is an external form that can be followed inwards to gain a better understanding of the human mind or outwards to gain a better understanding of culture and society. Together, Ling 170D and Anthro 2151 offer an interdisciplinary overview of both perspectives. Alternatively, language can be studied as a window on the mind by adding to Ling 170D one or two of the courses listed from philosophy or psychology.

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CL 5805 Linguistic Theory

In Introduction to Linguistics (Ling 170D) many students first make the discovery that language, though extremely flexible and rich in expressive power, can be described using a surprisingly small number of abstract rules. This blend of human complexity and formal rigor can be very appealing, and the courses in Group 2 offer the opportunity to pursue it in several core areas of formal linguistics.

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major and minor requirements

Get all the details for planning out your linguistics major or minor. Learn what classes you can count toward your degree, how these paths pair with other majors and minors, and other topics.

Review Major & Minor Requirements

Study Hall 

Study Hall is a chance to ask Linguistics faculty and students questions about coursework, research, the major or minor, or anything else linguistics-related in an informal setting. It is a great opportunity to get to know the Linguistics faculty and students outside of class. The Linguistics Program provides pizza.

Hours & Location:

Tuesday 11:30-12:30PM in Wilson Hall, Room 104

Wednesday 11:30-12:30PM in Wilson Hall, Room 104

Senior Honors Thesis Resources

Ready to dive into writing your Senior Honors Thesis? We've got all the resources to get you started. 

The thesis is a substantial project that shows that you have a strong understanding of linguistics and can use it in a meaningful, sustained application. While working closely with faculty advisors, you will have primary responsibility for an entire project: developing a question or idea, figuring out how to address the issue, collecting and analyzing the data;, writing up your analysis, and defending your work in oral questioning.

Additional Language Courses of Study

"All the best classes I've taken at WashU have been Linguistics classes. You can tell the professors care about the students and their learning, and that's made a huge impact on my academic experience."

―Sam LoomisClass of '21

Still have questions?

Contact us for more information about the Linguistics Program

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